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Ohio State Women's Basketball Coach Kevin McGuff Reacts To Chris Holtmann Hiring, Reflects On Matta

Ohio State head women's basketball coach Kevin McGuff caught up with BSB to reflect on his relationship with Thad Matta and give his thoughts on the new men's basketball coach, Chris Holtmann.

In case you haven't heard, the Ohio State men's basketball program made a head coaching change the week of June 5, parting ways with Thad Matta after 13 years on Monday and hiring Butler head coach Chris Holtmann on Friday. 

Four years ago, it was Kevin McGuff who was in Holtmann's shoes as he took over a women's program that had become stagnant under Jim Foster, who was the head coach for 11 seasons. 

After two straight trips to the Sweet 16, the Ohio State women's basketball program is moving in the right direction and McGuff told BSB that he believes Holtmann will do the same with the men's program. 

“I don’t know him. I have heard great things about him as a coach and as a person. I am really excited that we were able to hire him," McGuff said. "I am certainly looking forward to getting to know him when he is able to get on campus. It’s an outstanding hire. I think he is going to do great things for our men’s basketball program.”

Both McGuff and Holtmann had ties to the state of Ohio before becoming the head coaches of the Buckeye hoops programs with McGuff having coached as an assistant at Miami (OH) before leading the Xavier women's program to six NCAA tournament appearances in nine seasons with the Musketeers from 2002-2011 as the head coach. Holtmann served as an assistant coach at Ohio University for two years under former Matta assistant John Groce from 2008-2010.

When asked what advice he would give Holtmann in coming to Columbus, McGuff said he would tell Holtmann to take full advantage of the resources that are available at Ohio State. 

"He already knows this because he has been around, but really embrace the current players. You have some great kids on the men's roster," McGuff told BSB. "Embrace them, and start to build the culture he wants. Secondly, Ohio State is an incredibly special place with an amazing amount of resources. Just have a plan to tap into those resources and make sure you forge relationships with people on campus that can help your program."

As for his relationship with Matta, McGuff said he learned plenty from the now-former Ohio State men's coach. McGuff's first two years at Xavier were Matta's final two years with the Musketeers, before the two also spent four years together in Columbus leading their respective basketball programs. 

"He has been a mentor and a confidant and really helped in my transition to Ohio State," McGuff said. "I am going to miss him. I am going to miss our conversations and so forth. The thing I took away the most from Thad was how he treated players and how he treats his staff and how respectful he is with everyone. Also, just the way he ran the program. He always did things the right way. 

"It's a hard profession, but Thad is a person of high integrity and I really admire that about him."

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